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What’s Going On With The Apponaug Circulator?
The sign says “COMPLETED” but crews are still working on the Apponaug Circulator in Warwick.
“We’re adding new signs that indicate destinations at the roundabout exits to make it easier for travelers moving through the circulator,” RIDOT spokesperson Charles St. Martin said.
I asked St. Martin why the sign says “completed” if there’s more work to be done.
“Projects are typically declared substantially complete when work is finished so the asset – a road or a bridge – is fully accessible and usable by the public,” he replied.
So, what can you expect if you’re heading in that direction?
Drivers in the area may experience ongoing lane closures due to cleanup, lighting and drainage work, as well as signage installation weekdays from 6 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
The ultimate goal of the project, which started back in the summer of 2014, was to relieve heavy congestion and improve safety for drivers in the area.
Roughly 24,000 vehicles pass through the area each day, according to Warwick police.
One major change to the area was the addition of a new roadway, the Veterans Memorial Drive Extension.
The extension serves as a bypass, connecting traffic from the roundabout near Greenwich Avenue (Rte. 5) to Toll Gate Road (Rte. 115).
There are now five new roundabouts in Apponaug – replacing three intersections that previously had traffic lights and two other intersections.
RIDOT officials say, “roundabouts provide improved safety, greater efficiency, higher capacity and aesthetic benefits over traditional intersections controlled by traffic signals.”
If you live or work in the area, you know there’s been a “learning curve” for drivers.
Warwick Police Sgt. John Kelly says that the department saw an increase in crashes starting back in Nov. 2016 – when construction on the roundabouts began.
“Although there were more accidents, they were less severe,” he said. “Without traffic signals, you don’t have drivers getting broad-sided like in the past.”
“It has taken a while for drivers to get used to the new traffic pattern and using roundabouts,” he continued. “Over the last month, we have seen a tick back on crashes. There are still yielding issues, but I expect it to start to go down.”
The total project cost is $71 million, including a $29.8 million construction contract.
Timeline of the Apponaug Circulator Project:
- Summer 2014: Construction begins with focus on the new Veterans Memorial Drive Extension
- Fall 2014 – Summer 2016: Construction of roundabout at Post Road at Williams Corner in three phases
- Winter 2015 – Summer 2015: Relocation of a section of the Apponaug River
- Spring 2015 – Fall 2016: Construction of roundabout at Centerville Road and Toll Gate Road in six phases
- Summer 2015: Summer 2016: Construction of roundabout at Veterans Memorial Drive and Post Road Extension in four phases
- Fall 2015- Fall 2016: Construction of roundabout at Greenwich Avenue and Veterans Memorial Drive in five phases
- Fall 2016 – Spring 2017: Construction of roundabout at Apponaug Four Corners in four phases
- Spring 2017 – Summer 2017: Reconstruction of Post Road in Apponaug village center, Veterans Memorial Drive to Williams Corner
- Fall 2017 Substantial completion of the entire project